Sunday Best

You are a child of God...
You are a child of God…

NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Posting Month.  It’s a campaign that challenges bloggers (and would-be bloggers) to post something every day in the month of November.  My first reaction to that challenge is to realize that my mind is a complete blank, like somebody shook the Etch-A-Sketch (or is it a more contemporary analogy to say that somebody cleared the Smart Board?).  Fortunately, there are a couple of sources of prompts for those of us who are not in the habit of blogging every day. One of today’s prompts is a question about church wardrobe: what do I wear at church?

Well, there are lots of possibilities.  It could be something like this:


Or something like this:

Conference Pastors

(Both photos taken by the very talented pastor and photographer Peter Jonas.  His work can be seen at Outta the Box Photography.)

But really, I rarely bring lightning or rough seas to church with me (at least, not on purpose).  Usually I wear an alb and stole when leading worship.  In summer, I’m more casual, but that was something I had to get used to.

When I read the question about what to wear to church, my mind started spinning through generations.  I’m an early Baby Boomer, which means that my parents were Depression Kids and my grandparents were first and second generation immigrants.  I don’t remember ever seeing my Grandma Elsie in anything other than a dress, with stockings and sensible shoes.  And for all of my growing-up years, my mother wore a dress to church every single week.  I think she was well into her seventies when she first wore slacks to church.  That kind of imprinting is almost impossible to shake off.  Even now, I feel a little bit out of place if I don’t wear a dress to church on a Sunday morning.

And then there’s the matter of the office I hold, the role of pastor in leading worship.  There’s something deep inside me that pushes me to be more formal in my words, my dress, and my manner when I’m leading worship. Worship is the primary time when the community gathers, and I take my role as a worship leader very seriously.  For me, that means a more formal way of dressing, even though my clothes won’t be visible under my alb.

I have colleagues who are every bit as serious about worship as I am; but their dress is much more casual. That works for them, not so much for me. I occasionally do wear something more casual on Sundays; but when I do, it’s most often the result of a laundry crisis. When that happens, I carry a bit of a “great imposter” feeling through the day. I feel most comfortable, I feel most like the person I am called to be, when I am wearing my “Sunday best” clothes to lead worship.

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Barbara Bruneau

Barbara Bruneau is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She is semi-retired, having previously served congregations in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Barbara enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and weaving. She shares her home with cats named Abigail and Bijou.

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